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Re: HYB: Using good plants


 Sue said:
> Seems to me that a great garden plant is what the judges should be looking
> for not a mythical perfect flower that fits neatly into categories.

As a judge, I am instructed to vote the annual ballot on the garden
qualities of an iris, not its show bench value.  No matter how many times a
particular cultivar wins "Best in Show", if it does not grow well
nationwide, it should not win AIS awards.  That said, many irises that do
well in west coast climates and poorly in other parts of the country win
awards.  Why?  Because there are a larger number of AIS judges in that part
of the country and awards are given to irises that have the most total votes
nationwide.

I agree with Sue that trial gardens in different areas of the country would
be a wonderful thing.  In theory, this could help assure that award winners
grow well everywhere.  Logistically, I don't think it would work.  What
might help in letting the general public know what grows well in a
particular area would be having official iris display gardens in each AIS
region, much as the American Hemerocallis Society does.  These gardens are
privately owned and are given official status after applying to the AHS.  (I
don't know what the exact criteria are, but am sure there are listers who do
know and will share that information with us.) Gardeners interested in iris
could visit gardens near their home during bloom season and see what grows
well.  Hybridizers could send seedlings to test and new introductions to
display.  Sue, I am expanding on your idea a bit here.

Also, the Tall Bearded Iris Society has established an award system of its
own, only for TB's, obviously.  It is based more on popularity, and if an
iris is popular, is generally means it grows well somewhere!

Enough from me...maybe others have better ideas.

Judy Hunt
Louisville, KY

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